Think about the worst boss you have ever had. At any point did you find yourself describing him or her as the "worst boss ever"?
Because you were wrong. There are bosses in the post-slavery era who took the normal "horrible boss" stereotype and raised it to astonishing, horrifying new heights. So just be glad you didn't work for...
Do you ever dream of making enough money that you can pay (or force) people to act out your video games for you? Well George Pullman basically built a real-life version of The Sims.
Good or bad? You decide.
Why He Was An Asshole Boss:
Whenever you hear a historical figure referred to as an "industrialist," you know he was pretty shitty to work for. That certainly went for George Pullman, an industrialist who made his fortune in the railroads.
But Pullman wanted to be a father to his employees. An abusive, scary, probably drunken father. So he bought a huge chunk of land and built a town on it for his employees to live in.
Well, that kind of makes sense. Save on the commute, build a sense of unity. It's the kind of thing that could almost work, if the guy in charge wasn't completely batshit.
Just like some people can't play The Sims for more than an hour before inventing ways to torture the inhabitants, Pullman's town quickly became his own little kingdom-slash-prison. He forbade any free press, public meetings or bars. He would send guys to barge into employees' homes and make sure they were being kept spotless. Anybody who failed to meet Pullman's cleanliness standards were given 10 days to pack up and get out.
But if the others didn't like it, they could just leave, right? Well, Pullman started paying his employees in what he called Pullman Scrip, which could only be spent in the town and could not be exchanged for actual money.
And while running your own town according to your crazy fuck rules is kind of terrifying just on the face of it, things only got worse when the company started going downhill and everyone's wages were cut. To compliment the imaginary wage cuts, rent and the imaginary prices at the company stores were kept right where they were, squashing employees between a financial hammer and anvil. The situation eventually exploded into a strike that got so out of control that federal troops had to be brought in.
How much did the workers hate Pullman? When he died, they had to bury his body in a steel and concrete vault, which was itself buried under a few tons of concrete. Why? Because--and we're not making this up--they were afraid that employees would dig up and beat the shit out of his corpse, otherwise.